Jensen Huang, 57
Founder, President & CEO, Nvidia
TITLE: Founder, President & CEO
BASED: Santa Clara, California, USA
Jensen Huang founded Nvidia in 1993 and since then has served as president, CEO and board of directors member. Nvidia started out as a provider of cool graphics for video games and quickly became a powerhouse in that industry. Huang's and Nvidia's big breakthrough with automotive implications came in 1999 with the debut of its graphics processing unit, or GPU. In 2010, Audi chose Nvidia GPUs to power the navigation and infotainment systems in all its vehicles. In 2017, Huang was named Fortune magazine's Businessperson of the Year. Last year, Harvard Business Review ranked him No. 1 on its list of the world's 100 best-performing CEOs over the lifetime of their tenure.
REASON FOR WINNING
Since sharing the 2011 CES spotlight with former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, Huang, who drove on the Las Vegas stage in an A8 with a multimedia system powered by Nvidia's Tegra chips, has been a high-roller in automotive circles. Today, Nvidia's GPUs are in models such as the new-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but Huang has a bigger goal as he wants his company to put together the "brain" of autonomous driving systems. The chipmaker aims to supply not only full-autonomous vehicles, but also help improve the performance of driver assistance features such as lane keeping and adaptive cruise control. To further strengthen the company, Huang spearheaded a deal to buy SoftBank's chip division, Arm, for $40 billion. The semiconductor industry's largest-ever deal would give Nvidia control of what Huang calls the most popular central processing unit (CPU) in the world. He says the acquisition is fueled by his desire to bring artificial intelligence to everything with an on-switch.